Exclusive: Joe Rogan buying west Austin theater for new comedy club, wants to make Austin a new hub for big laughs
Since making his well-documented move to Austin from Los Angeles, multi-million dollar podcaster Joe Rogan has been singing the praises of his new home and making himself right at home. So, what's next for Rogan and Austin?
Austonia has confirmed with multiple sources that Rogan is taking decades of experience in standup comedy—first starting his career in 1988—and finally, *drumroll* opening up his very own comedy club in the capital city.
Though rumors have also previously suggested he's purchased the now closed Alamo Ritz and the soon to reopen Cap City Comedy, multiple sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told Austonia that the new home to Rogan's latest endeavor is the One World Theatre. Located at 7701 Bee Cave Road, the theater is a convenient 10-minute drive from Rogan's $14.4 million dollar Westlake Hills mansion.
Rogan will run the theatre with fellow comedian Adam Eget, who has been on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast and made the journey from L.A. to Austin for the gig. The One World Theatre did not respond to numerous calls and messages from Austonia.
The One World Theatre opened its doors in 1999, when current owners Hartt and Nada Stearns decided to bring concerts, dance, theatrical and kid's productions to the new venue in association with an equal partner, the Barton Creek Art Center. The Stearns acquired 100% interest in the property in 2007 and have been running it since.
According to the Travis Central Appraisal District, the property is on its second foreclosure and likely sustained damages due to the winter storm.
We know it's been a long time coming for Rogan to finally buy his first-ever club. Here's what we've observed over the years.
Rogan has been planning to start a club for months, at least
Shortly after Rogan announced his California exodus, Rogan sat down for an August 2020 podcast with comedian Joey Diaz to talk about fracking and the effects it has had on the environment along the coast and how it was one of the reasons he wanted to leave. In response to his move, Diaz asked Rogan if he plans to do a comedy club once he breaks ground.
"Most likely I'm going to do a comedy club (in Austin). It'll be fun for all of us," Rogan said.
He's been keeping company with fellow funnies
The iconoclast has performed dozens of shows around Austin since he's made his move; Rogan frequents venues like Stubb's BBQ and ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Rogan recently appeared in a series of comedy shows alongside fellow comedian Dave Chapelle and has also been seen performing with Ron White, Donnell Rawlings and Michelle Wolfe. Rogan has also been coaxing friends, like Diaz, to follow his path down to Austin.
He was a longtime staple at The Comedy Store in L.A.
... and now he wants to move the L.A. hub to Austin. Rogan said he first started performing at The Comedy Store, one of the most prominent comedy venues in L.A., in 1994; it was a "mecca" for him and he performed there for 13 years. As the world changes and technology becomes more powerful than ever before, Rogan said he wants to steer people away from making Hollywood their end-all-be-all.
"For sure the best way to be free is not to be connected to the Hollywood machine because the Hollywood machine is all woke now," Rogan said. "It's completely ridiculous and everyone's full of shit. What we need is a machine that we create ourselves."
He's not looking to make money
With a podcast worth upwards of $100 million dollars—thanks to his high-profile licensing deal with Spotify—Rogan's pockets are lined. On yet another podcast in September, this time with White, Rogan said he was on the lookout for a ranch and a comedy club in Austin. Rogan said he wants to help local comics get on the up-and-up "when" he starts a club in Austin.
"The idea is if we open a club—when we open up a club I should say—is to have these local guys come in, pump them up, let people know there's a real scene here and help them," Rogan said. "Not just Austin comics but from everywhere, bring them into this place and have this be a hub."
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Few of us will ever feel the thrill of whipping through Circuit of the America's 23-turn track at the 220+ mile per hour speeds of Formula 1 racers. But thrill-seekers still rev their engines at COTA thanks to its go-kart track and ziplining service.
Here's what to expect when go-karting at COTA firsthand from Austonia's Claire Partain.
1. Go for the package deal
Schedule ahead of time online. A 10-minute race at COTA's karting track is $35, and tacking on a ride on the zipline is just $5 more. Go big or go home.
2. Get your gear on
Go-karting gear includes a head sock and helmet. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The track is located just off the COTA Boulevard entrance near the main course. Get to the track before your race is scheduled to start so you can watch the training video and try on a helmet and a head sock, which functions like a ski mask and goes on under your helmet. It's somehow even less cool-looking than it sounds.
3. To the track
Head to the track! Attendees will pick out a kart for you and make sure you're all strapped in. The first round is a slower round, but people start slamming on the gas pretty much immediately.
4. On the track
Track time! (Laura Figi/Austonia)
These go-karts go up to 55 mph, and some turns (including the traffic-inducing second-to-last curve) were kind of tough to navigate. Other than avoiding barriers, the most unexpected obstacle I had was avoiding other go-karters who had crashed. Passing people is exhilarating, but don't be the annoying driver who passes people on a hairpin curve either.
When crashes happen, all of the karts are programmed to sputter and slow down, so don't panic like I did and ask why your kart has stopped going fast. Move to the side and wave your hand to get help if your go-kart malfunctions otherwise.
5. Revel in your victory
Karting is a great way to find out who's the Lewis Hamilton of the family. At the end of the race, COTA will email you your results and give a breakdown of your fastest lap times. There's also a podium for those of us who win the race (I got sixth).
5. The zipline
The zipline takes you up above both the COTA and karting track. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
After you've had your taste of adrenaline, get some more at the nearby zipline ride. Unlike traditional ziplines, this route has two seats that take you up and backward before bringing you back down. Grab some quick views of the entire track and hold tightly onto your phone while up top. Other than that, it's a pretty smooth ride.
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Q2 Stadium swapped its Verde for red, white and blue as country music legend Willie Nelson returned for his first in-person Fourth of July Picnic since 2019 on Monday.
The music fest included fireworks, fun merch and acts from country greats including Charley Crockett, Midland, Brothers Osborne, Allison Russell, Tyler Childers, Jason Isbell and Austin's own Asleep at the Wheel. And while Q2 will have some kinks to straighten before it becomes a concert-hosting regular, Nelson's unifying spirit kept things cool during the 12-hour outdoor event.
Midland performed at Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic. (Q2 Stadium/Twitter)
Doors opened at 11 a.m., and Asleep at the Wheel was on the stage by 12 p.m.—though as one Reddit post pointed out, there weren't many people there to see them play.
Q2 Stadium stayed sparsely populated for the first half of the day. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Per Q2 Stadium policy, attendees weren't allowed to re-enter the venue after leaving, so anyone who wanted to watch both an afternoon and Nelson's big performance were stuck at the venue for hours straight. That opened up the perfect opportunity for customers to snatch up snacks, water and beers, which emptied wallets even faster than at Austin FC games. Nothing says "the end is nigh" like $15 beers.
An open-air, 20,500 seat venue, Q2 Stadium sometimes struggled to carry sound clearly, and between-song banter was often limited to an incomprehensible garble. Still, Tyler Childers' commanding growls came through, Alison Russells' multi-instrument ensemble shone and Nelson's strums on his trusty guitar, Trigger, were front and center by the end of the night.
Fans found it hard to look away from Tyler Childers' enrapturing performance. (Jakob Rodriguez)
The July 4th picnic, which was most recently held at Circuit of the Americas from 2015-2019, benefitted from Q2's more central location, and the large venue offered plenty of room for attendees to mull about.
As the sun mercifully dipped below the horizon, the music paused for a 15-minute fireworks show.
But the July 4th staples weren't the main event. At 89, Nelson didn't disappoint, sitting calmly as he performed alongside his family members and even gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke, who made a surprise appearance midway through the show.
.@BetoORourke and his son just joined @WillieNelson on stage for his annual 4th of July picnic in Austin pic.twitter.com/2kgr5yDogG
— Jeremy Wallace (@JeremySWallace) July 5, 2022
At times wistful, joyful or both, Nelson took the crowd through hits from "On the Road Again" to "Always on My Mind."
And as each favorite was played, all of the heat and stress of the day were encompassed by Nelson's voice, his storytelling and more as Austinites new and old gathered for the decades-old tradition.
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